We recently posted an article about PA Act 44 and Why It’s Important now let take some time to review the Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items.
PA Act 44, which was signed into law in the summer of 2018 by Governor Wolf, created a School Safety and Security Committee, which operates under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The Committee establishes standards for school safety assessments, and it administers grants to Pennsylvania school districts.
#1 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items — School Safety Coordinators
Chief school administrators were required to appoint a school administrator as the school’s safety and security coordinator by August 31, 2018. This coordinator oversees School Police Officers, School Resource Officers, and School Security Guards. The school safety and security coordinator are responsible for reviewing the school entity’s policies and procedures relative to school safety and security and compliance with Federal and State laws regarding school safety and security.
Act 44 also mandates annual reporting requirements and specifies that administrators must coordinate school facility tours for local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders.
#2 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items — Mandatory Training
Schools must provide employees with training on school safety and security. “This training may be provided through the Internet or other distance communication systems and must be a minimum of three hours every five years. Training that has been approved by the Department of Education in consultation with the Committee will count towards continuing professional education requirements” (Pennsylvania School Boards Association).
#3 Top 3 PA Act 44 Compliance Items – School Police Officers and School Resource Officers
The Public School Code now recognizes three distinct categories of school security personnel: School Police Officers (SPOs), School Resource Officers (SROs), and School Security Guards (SSGs).
However, the School Code identifies only two types of school security personnel that may be designated to carry a firearm within the scope of their employment with the school entity: SPOs and SROs.
“While the School Code does recognize school security guards as a type of school security official, the School Code vests school security guards with six specific duties, none of which include the authority to carry a firearm. As such, school security guards who are employed by school entities—either as employees or independent contractors—are not authorized to possess a firearm within the scope of that employment. Please note that SPOs and SROs who are authorized to carry a firearm must, prior to commencing their duties, successfully complete specific training,” (Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission).
School entities and nonpublic schools are permitted to contract with individuals who are retired federal agents or retired state, municipal or military police officers or sheriffs to provide school police and security services.
The individuals must be considered independent contractors and must be compensated on an hourly basis. The school entity must ensure that independent contractors comply with all training and criminal background check requirements (PSBA).
LARGO Consulting Services is Compliant with PA Act 44
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC was named an Approved School Safety and Security Assessment Provider in February 2019 and we are happy to answer any questions about compliance that your school leaders have.
LARGO Consulting Services, LLC is committed to providing safe and secure environments where you live, work, study, and play. For more information about LARGO Secure Schools, please contact LARGO Consulting Services, LLC online or call 833-LARGOCS. We also invite you to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.